JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks


Advertising


Australian Speakers Agency



GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Archives

We need to protect our health system from Climate-change-doctors

Doctors are at it again trying to scare people about “climate change”. But all around the world, in every study in every city humans die more from the cold than they do from the heat (and by six to 20 times more). That’s thousands of lives and it happens every single year. Don’t these doctors know anything?

Attributable fraction of deaths: Heat, cold and temperature variability together resulted in 42,414 deaths during the study period, accounting for about 6.0% of all deaths. Most of attributable deaths were due to cold (61.4%), and noticeably, contribution from temperature variability [TV] (28.0%) was greater than that from heat (10.6%). Cheng et al.

The awful truth that incompetent self-serving doctors forgot to mention was that cooler room temperatures allow viruses to survive longer, which is just one of many reasons the Flu Season is always worse in winter.

Break my heart, if “climate change” is real the only thing the docs have to worry about is whether they’ll earn less money in winter.

Here’s the headline:

 Health system needs to be protected from climate change: doctors

Here’s the real news: The health system needs to be protected from climate-change-doctors. We can’t afford [...]

Solar Power hits the death spiral vertical rise in Australia

Solar installations are rapidly accelerating in Australia, surging in the last quarter by an extraordinary 482MW. This is partly due to rapidly rising electricity costs, but in the last quarter, especially amplified by an extra $2250 subsidy in Victoria which adds to current subsidies like the SRES (RET) which already cover around half the cost of installation.

This is obviously a market destroying practice but will be hailed as evidence that solar power is “surging” due to “falling prices” and “increasing demand”. More fake news.

In the land of the Renewable-Crash-Test-Dummy we’re hitting the death spiral. Every installation costs non-solar owners more (with the tally at $200pa and rising fast) and there are fewer non-solar owners left to pay. Obviously, the whole market has to be changed to ensure that solar owners pay a fair share of networking and backup costs.

If solar power was cheap, useful or competitive, it wouldn’t need the subsidies. Instead, the nation keeps adding more useless infrastructure and wondering why the price of electricity is rising.

Solar panel installations, Australia, Graph.

Data: Australian PV Institute

The tally of solar stupidity

Solar is inefficient, wilderness destroying, money-hungry, useless, grid wrecking equipment

Without subsidies the German [...]

Landmark: First photo of a black hole (and Einstein was right)

A brief break in transmission now for the first photograph of a black hole, looking pretty much exactly as anyone would expect it to.  The photons caught in this image traveled for hundreds of years at the speed of light. Lots of “hundreds” –  burning through space for some 55 million years.

The numbers melt neurons: The supermassive black hole called M87 is 6.5 billion times bigger than our Sun. It’s bigger than the orbit of Neptune (which is circling 30 times further out from the Sun than we are). This star is 10 billion kilometers across.

Geoffrey Crew, a research scientist at Haystack Observatory commented that “With the M87 black hole being so massive, an orbiting planet would go around it within a week and be traveling at close to the speed of light.”

The black heart of Messier 87, or M87, a galaxy within the Virgo galaxy cluster, 55 million light years from Earth.

It takes a telescope roughly as big as The Earth to catch an image 20 micro-arcseconds across. Eight radio telescopes were combined across four continents and lined up on a few special days when they all had clear weather together. Each telescope took a [...]

Australias wannabee PM thinks electric cars get charged in 8 -10 minutes

I know commenters discussed this on the weekend, but lest anyone missed it. The man who wants half of all new cars sold in Australia to be electric thinks they can be charged in 8 -10 minutes, depending on how flat the battery is. He may be our Prime Minister in a matter of weeks.

We can see how much research and planning goes into Labor Party policy.

“How long does it take to charge it up?” Jackie O asked the alternative prime minister in an interview on the Kyle and Jackie O radio show this morning.

“Oh, it can take, umm … it depends on what your original charge is, but it can take, err, 8 to 10 minutes depend on your charge, it can take longer … ” Mr Shorten replied unconvincingly.

“Is that all?” Jackie O pressed.

“Well it depends how flat your battery is,” Mr Shorten said.

–Chris Kenny, The Australian

Shorten also says that if we do this we can start to say goodbye to “angry” summers and natural disasters ….

Audio here.

UPDATE: The myth that Shorten was right

Seeing the [...]

Worlds biggest solar thermal plant axed in state that is God’s gift to solar

Despite the obstacles, the free market just saved South Australian’s $110 million dollars

The Aurora plant was to be a bigger copy of Crescent Dunes, Solar Thermal Plant, California.

The Aurora Solar Thermal plant was going to be the biggest one in the world, but they couldn’t find enough private investors so it’s just been scrapped. That is despite the SA government being willing to give $110 million dollars, and the state being one of the sunniest, richest places in the world and with people already paying obscenely high prices for electricity. If Big-Solar could make it anywhere, surely there is no easier place on Planet Earth than in coal-less South Australia where competition from cheap reliable power has been completely extinguished?

A $650 million solar thermal power plant planned for Port Augusta will not go ahead after the company behind it failed to secure commercial finance for the project.

Despite all those fixed, unfair advantages, the market didn’t want to pay up for a 150MW bird frying power plant that would cost $650 million and probably only produce 30MW effectively. (The company’s prototype was Crescent Dunes which had a capacity factor of only 16%). Possibly investors [...]

New poll: 54% of Australians are still skeptics of man-made climate catastrophe

Despite all the spin, the non-stop propaganda, a dreadful drought and the two “record” hot years, most Australians still don’t agree with the IPCC.  This is exactly the same as it was in 2015 when the CSIRO last did a serious climate poll.

The IPSOS Climate Change Report

So we sit, a nation of majority skeptics, with no major party to vote for and hardly any TV media, academics or politicians making the case that the IPCC might be wrong and the Paris agreement might be a waste of time. No one is allowed to discuss it and national leaders stay cowed in silence for fear of being called petty names.

There is little to crystallize or focus this sentiment that doubts the experts, yet it exists, even in surveys designed by a team who appear to be doing their best to find and amplify the “believer” vote.

The IPSOS survey suffers from the the usual flaws: loaded questions, ambiguous terms and one sided analysis. Respondents are asked magical pie questions about solving problems as if they only need to wave a fairy wand and it shall be solved. They’re not asked how many dollars they personally want [...]

Electric cars are perfect for socialists: Labor plan boosts Big-Gov, but worse for CO2, pollution, coal use, and grid

Labor’s electric car plan means higher emissions, more pollution, more coal use, and threatens the grid but it’s great for socialists.

Fantasy-land: Labor wants half of all new cars sales to be EV’s by 2030. That’s a radical change in a big country that loves its cars and drives great distances. Last year only 0.2% of new car purchases were EV’s. Our grid is already struggling, and extra charging cars would push it over the edge and may add something like $20b a year in extra network and generation costs.

This makes no sense on so many levels: in Australia EV’s are 80% fossil fuel powered and over their lifetime they cause more pollution than internal combustion engines.

Electric Vehicles produce more carbon emissions if the grid that charges them is powered by fossil fuels.

The results reveal that the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of a battery electric vehicle production range from 92.4 to 94.3 GJ and 15.0 to 15.2 t CO2eq, which are about 50% higher than those of an internal combustion engine vehicle, 63.5 GJ and 10.0 t CO2eq. This substantial change can be mainly attributed to the production of traction batteries, the essential components [...]

A few women swim naked to give free adverts to renewable industry. ABC loves it.

Save the world, skinny-dip for a photo.

It doesn’t matter how pointless your action is, the ABC will cover it as long as it gives free advertising to giant multinationals and fellow lobbyists for big government.

Six women take a swim, put it on the news. No hard questions asked.

Naked group swim in pristine Jervis Bay helps photographer highlight climate change

Justin Huntsdale, ABC

When South Coast NSW photographer Tamara Dean asks you to be involved in her latest project, be prepared to make a bold environmental statement in your birthday suit.

“Biologists predict that if we continue carrying on the way we are, by the end of this century, 50 per cent of species living today will face extinction,” Ms Dean said.

Canberra environmentalist and economist Tory Bridges said she would do whatever it took to get people thinking about climate change.

That included swimming naked in the open ocean with 20 other women on a rainy weekend. But she was willing to suffer for the art, especially with the future of the environment at stake.

The photo shoot was part of Ms Dean’s ongoing project [...]

Mission Impossible: “100% renewable”. Greens ban coal and cars by 2030. Kiss goodbye to $30b and life as we know it?

The Australian Greens are actually proposing an end to thermal coal exports and coal plants and a ban on new internal combustion vehicles by 2030.

Their policy plan: Renew Australia 2030

The Greens policy blueprint suggests Australia would become a “renewable energy superpower”, with coal exports to be replaced by clean hydrogen, and the construction of a $6bn taxpayer-funded ­energy grid upgrade to develop new renewable energy zones.

– Ben Packham, The Australian

Coming soon, the Greens will ban planes, holidays and jokes…

Greens set 2030 cut-off for coal exports and coal-fired power stations

The Greens will propose 2030 as the cut-off point for thermal coal exports, and the shutdown date for Australia’s fleet of coal-fired power stations, in the party’s new climate and energy policy heading into the federal election.

– Katharine Murphy, The Guardian

Current thermal coal exports bring in $25 billion dollars each year. That’s a lot of money and taxes taken out of our economy. Which hospitals will the Greens close? (Maybe all of them, especially at night time). We could just ban people from getting sick?

Closing our 23GW of coal fired [...]

Surprise: Largest Glacier in Northern Hemisphere has started growing again

Jakobshavn Glacier, Greenland          Image: NASA

The Jakobshavn is the glacier that dumps more ice in the ocean than any other in the Northern Hemisphere. It made the iceberg that “sank the titanic”. It has been receding for years, and the losses were accelerating, but then it astonished the scientists.

 ”At first we didn’t believe it,” said glaciologist Ala Khazendar of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “We had pretty much assumed that Jakobshavn would just keep going on as it had over the last 20 years.”

–ScienceAlert

“That was kind of a surprise. We kind of got used to a runaway system,” said Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland ice and climate scientist Jason Box. “The good news is that it’s a reminder that it’s not necessarily going that fast. But it is going.”

Box, who wasn’t part of the study, said Jakobshavn is “arguably the most important Greenland glacier because it discharges the most ice in the northern hemisphere. For all of Greenland, it is king.”

– Associated Press

But it’s OK, seriously, we’re all still going to bake in climate hell because all the models that [...]

Australian electricity market wrecked by big-gov: corporates gouge $3b from electricity customers

Thanks to Big-Gov’s Renewable Energy Target, big corporate greed was unleashed:

ABC — Australian energy giant AGL ‘gouged’ customers after Hazelwood closure, new research shows

Some of the nation’s biggest energy companies have allegedly used the closure of Australia’s dirtiest coal-fired power station to price gouge customers and make an extra $3 billion in wholesale profits, according to a new report.

We already knew that renewables are so poisonous they make other generators more expensive. But this is something “extra”. Either big corporate’s suddenly turned into greedy machines or the government destroyed the free market that worked fine for years:

When the closure of Hazelwood was announced just a few months earlier, AGL increased the price of much of the coal-fired power on offer from the Bayswater and Liddell plants in NSW.

The study found a significant part of the output from the Liddell plant was repriced from $40 to $60 per megawatt hour, to greater than $5,000 per megawatt hour — so expensive it effectively restricted supply.

At the same time, much of the power offered by the Bayswater plant almost doubled in price, from about $40 [...]

So much snow in the Northern Winter ski resorts staying open ’til summer

Remember when Dr David Viner famously said “Children wont know what snow is?”

To paraphrase Tony Heller: “Soon Children Wont Know What Science Is”.

Two weeks ago snow mass in the Northern Hemisphere hit “exceptional”. This graph below is from the Finnish Meteorological Institute and unlike other datasets includes both snow and ice. They don’t say if this is an all-time record (since 1982).

Look at that chart: Total Snow Mass for the Northern Hemisphere (excluding mountains)

Source Cryosphere Now

 Exceptionally large winter snow

[Science Daily] In the Northern Hemisphere the maximum seasonal snow cover occurs in March. “This year has been a year with an exceptionally large amount of snow, when examining the entire Northern Hemisphere. The variation from one year to another has been somewhat great, and especially in the most recent years the differences between winters have been very great,” says Kari Luojus, Senior Research Scientist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Credit: Image courtesy of Finnish Meteorological Institute

There are the usual we-still-believe weasel word caveats:

The weather fluctuates from one year to another and individual cold snaps in the Arctic area are not, as such, proof of the progression of climate [...]

“Market Bloodbath”: Too many new remote renewables projects means high losses

As Australia push-pumps “renewables” into remote locations some of their incomes are suddenly being cut because the losses (as they transmit across long lines) are higher than they expected. On March 8th the AEMO rerated many generators and this year it’s being called a bloodbath for wind and solar. Some of them,  like AGL’s Silverton wind farm face losses of 20%.

It all revolves around something called Marginal Loss Factors, a value that is set by the AEMO each year for each generator. The rating is reduced by transmission losses over distance and also by “congestion” from other renewables which are popping up in the same remote locations far from the cities and industries that need the electricity they make. This sudden loss of expected income threatens new wind and solar projects (as it should — hello market signal!) Sometimes the loss factors are hard to predict years in advance which makes it difficult to also predict whether a project will return a profit (even despite the guaranteed subsidies).

Another renewable inefficiency strikes — “marginal loss factors”

Generators are paid according to the electricity that arrives rather than what they produce at the plant. (Seems fair). This is called the Marginal [...]

Venezuela’s melt down: Blackout day six and the grid struggles to reboot

Venezuela has 31 million people and has had almost no electricity for six days. There are estimates on Twitter (#sinluz) suggesting that about half is back up as I write, but the stories of chaos, death and disaster are surely just starting to come out as communication lines open.  The water coming out of taps is black, possibly contaminated with oil (are those shots fake?),  the Pepsi plant was stripped bare, see the video. People are desperate:  Shop owners are apparently shooting looters. At least one tweeter claims people are eating zoo animals. One baker took his own life after his shop was overrun and everything was stolen.  It may not be over yet either — the grid  recovered almost as far a few days ago, then collapsed again. Indeed, today explosions have been reported at an electrical substation at La Tiama, as well as other substations. What a debacle, a disaster. Babies in hospitals are being ventilated by hand. Many life support systems are off.

Netblocks tracks connectivity in Venezuala, which seems to be a reasonable proxy for power, and clearly electricity is being rebuilt partially, then collapsing again.

Update: 119 hours after the onset of nationwide power [...]

Peter Ridd versus James Cook Uni — Free Speech on trial in two weeks

Peter Ridd in Brisbane getting ready for the trial.

Peter Ridd’s court case is set for 26 to 28th March in Brisbane. He invites  you to watch the proceedings (Jennifer Marohasy says she’ll be there, all three days!). Go on…

If James Cook Uni (JCU) wins, they lose. Whatever happens, the taxpayer lost a long time ago.

On a philosophical note, in my opinion JCU will lose the ethical argument even if they manage to win on some narrow legal definition. If they win, it will mean that a judge has decided that a university has set up legally binding contracts that give them the power to effectively take away the right to intellectual freedom of an academic and silence him/her. That would be something of a pyrrhic victory. The university hierarchy may feel vindicated but the general public, especially those in North Queensland who are most affected by the questionable Great Barrier Reef science, will take a different view. But without getting over-confident, I reckon the chances of us winning are considerably above average, so we will see. — Peter Ridd, March 2019

Ridd’s employment contract says he has the right to speak freely, [...]